Frequently Asked Questions About Hypnosis

Isn't Hypnosis  New Age "Woo-Woo"?

No! Hypnosis has a long and venerable history within Psychiatry, Psychology and Psychotherapy. It may in fact be considered the ORIGINAL psychotherapy and mind-body medical treatment method. It has been around longer than any other method of psychotherapy.  

The use and existence of hypnosis in some forma has been documented for hundreds if not thousands of years. 

Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung and virtually all psychiatrists were trained in hypnosis as a primary psychciatry tool on the late 1800's. Freud derived his theories of the unconscious through observing hypnotic phenomena. In fact it is speculated that he developed his method of psychoanalysis at least in part due to the fact that he was a poor hypnotherapist! (interestingly this is idea highlighted in the current Netfix Series "Freud" where he is regularly shown to be a poor hypnotist - which he actually admits!).

Hypnosis was also used in physical medicine through the 1800's and later for inducing anesthesia for surgeries and for pain management. It also became popular in dentistry to use hypnosis for anesthesia to perform dental work. Hypnosis remained popular in dentistry through the 1950's & 60's and there are still some dentists today who will use hypnosis for patients who have reactions to anaesthetic or prefer not to use anesthetic. 

The use of hypnosis in medicine, density and psychiatry waned as various drugs and chemical anesthetics were developed - which were easier and faster to use and produced more consistent results across people.

Hypnosis continued to have popular use in psychology and psychiatry through the 1950's - 70's however as an "adjunct" to other methods as well (though some retained hypnosis as a primary tool). It is not unusual to see portrayals of hypnosis being utilized by psychiatrists/psychologists in movies from this era - particularly psychological thrillers or psychological based dramas ("Audry Rose", "Syball" etc.

Though hundreds of different therapies have arisen - particularly since the 1950's , hypnosis has always been utilized as a therapeutic modality in psychotherapy. It just seems to have gotten "lost" amongst the rise and competition among the many diverse therapeutic models. 

However Hypnosis has maintained a strong and consistently validated base of scientific research support behind it. It has in fact been more research d and validated than virtually any other therapeutic modality - having been researched for well over 100 years now. It is truly an "evidence based" modality and is supported for use for a wide range of both psychological and medical conditions by prestigious medical facilities and organizations such as the American and Canadian Medical Associations and the world-famous Mayo Clinic. 

So no - hypnosis is not "woo-woo" - it is actually mainstream - in-fact traditional!

What is it like to be hypnotized?

Hypnosis is generally a pleasant and relaxing experience, similiar to watching TV or listening to a radio in the background while you are relaxing with eyes closed in a chair or couch.  You may experience one or more of the following:

  • a sensation of feeling lighter or floating 
  • a pleasant heaviness in your body
  • tingling sensations
  • you may feel like you are close to sleeping 
  • you may feel like you are partially dreaming
  • you may see colours
  • nothing in particular - it just feels like you are sitting there with your eyes closed!

Following hypnosis people often:

  • comment about feeling great and very relaxed 
  • have a positive side-effect of improved slee

Will I be conscious and will I remember what happened during hypnosis?

You are not asleep during hypnosis - you remain aware and conscious.  You may not remember everything that was said in detail - only the general gist and some relevant details, similiar to the highlights one recalls from a long conversation they have with someone.

Can I get "stuck" in hypnosis and not come out of it?

You cannot get stuck in hypnosis as it is a natural, altered state of consciousness that we constantly go in and out of each day.  You can no more get "stuck" in hypnosis than you can get "stuck" in sleep and not wake up.  One does not lose control in hypnosis.

Can everyone be hypnotized?

Because hypnosis is a natural state that everyone experiences daily, everyone can potentially be hypnotized. 

A person may not be hypnotized if:

  • they do not give their consent
  • they are unwilling, resist and/or do not cooperate 
  • they are nervous or fearful of hypnosis (for this can be a barrier leading to unconscious resistance)
  • they are overly-anaylitical or highly vigilant and busy analysing everything that is happening and being said as this can interfere with their relaxing into the proper state.

The Good News is:

With the patience and assistance of a skilled hypnotist, these above issues can usually be overcome and most people are capable of being hypnotized. 

During stage hypnosis why do participants do strange, seemingly involuntary things?

In stage hypnosis the audience participants are carefully screened and selected ahead of time to ensure participants are both highly suggestible and cooperative with the hypnotist. Those that are most willing to go on stage and perform amusing or bizarre behaviours ( eg. cluck like a chicken!) are selected.  Whenever the participants comply it is always with their full cooperation and agreement with the hypnotic suggestions ( otherwise if they are uncomfortable complying they simply will not respond to the suggestions). 

Are Stage Hypnosis and Therapeutic Hypnosis the same ?

Therapeutic hypnosis is quite different than stage hypnosis. Clients come to a hypnotherapist to make changes in their life that are permanent and lasting - unlike stage hypnosis in which suggestions given are just temporary and transitory and strictly for entertainment purposes. Hypnosis provided with sensitivity in a therapeutic or helping context - in accordance with the persons own goals and wishes - can lead to very satisfying, empowering and lasting change. 

Can I be Hypnotized against my will or made to do things that are against my ethics or values?  

No, you cannot be hypnotized against your will or made to accept suggestions that you don't agree with or are against your values and ethics. If anyone tried to do so, you would simply ignore the suggestions and/or emerge from the hypnotic state.

Will Hypnosis work for me?

When someone is fully motivated, ready and committed to change whatever issue they have, hypnosis has the potential to be a powerful, and effective tool for change. 

Suggestions implemented through Hypnosis will work for most people.

The critical factor for accepting suggestions is the full consent and agreement of the subject, as no one will act on a suggestion they do not agree with.  The subject is always in control of the hypnosis process.

Barriers to successful hypnosis could also include: 

  • insufficient personal motivation to want the change (e.g. if a smoker only wants to quit because their spouse is nagging them but they would actually rather keep smoking)
  • hidden motivational barriers - (e.g. if a smoker really wanted to quit smoking but was unconsciously afraid of gaining weight if they stopped smoking)
However, a skilled hypnotist will work with the individual to uncover and work with hidden motivational barriers or to help increase personal motivation in order to attain the proper readiness for change.

* Just like any therapeutic/helping  process or procedure however (including medical procedures) individual responses to hypnosis will vary and complete success can never be guaranteed.

Please note that some services may be eligible for coverage under standard extended health benefit plans!

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